Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Visiting the Photography "Holy Land ~

Last week I visited the George Eastman House in Rochester NY -- something I had dreamed of for most of my nearly 40 years in photography. It's more than just a huge collection of cameras and photographs - one of the largest in the world - but more importantly, it's a preservation, and celebration, of the people and technologies that shaped our profession.

My daughter Sara had just completed her Masters Degree there at the University of Rochester/George Eastman House. She spent her entire first year at the house, where she obtained her museum certificate in Film Preservation, and then completed the academic course work on campus. What a great opportunity for her, and it gave me this once-in-a-lifetime chance to get an insider's tour of the GEH, its museum and its archives.

The camera on the right, for example, is the very first one produced by Kodak. It's amazing to look at it and touch history, and imagine the kind of revolution it created in photography. We have a direct visual link to our past because of this and the finishing process offered by Kodak. Ordinary people made extraordinary images of their lives, and those who saw the art in it -- Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, Steiglitz, Strand, Dorothea Lange and so many others -- were my inspirations.

It was good to feel like a kid again and get that rush of excitement that made me pursue photography in the first place. 39 years later, I'm still energized and amazed by it, even though I now use a computer instead of a cold-lighthead enlarger. Museums don't just preserve the past; great ones, like the George Eastman House, also point the way to the future.

Share your experiences?

Friday, May 11, 2012

Let's Go For A New Photo Challenge ~

Time sure has a way of getting away from you, especially if you're like me and would rather spend it outdoors instead of in front of your computer. My studio partner and photography motivator (as in, "get busy!") reminded me how long it had been since our last photo challenge, which was to produce a photograph that somehow embodied the concept of soft. The topic this time around? Stripes. 
I have always found that the simpler a concept may sound, it's that much more difficult to actually realize. It's easy to look at the word stripes and think t-shirts and zebras, but we're looking for something deeper and more subtle.

The staircase photo above is my initial entry. I love to work with lines (stripes?) and geometric form; and, as with a lot of my recent work away from the studio, this was taken with my trusty iPhone 4s. And I really like this photo on the right; it's Whitney's submission and is a terrific image with strong photographic elements and a touch of whimsy. It has that special "HDR" look that I like so much.

So get out and try on some new ideas and ways of seeing things. Anything goes. No rules, no limitations. Just inspiration.

It's nice outside. Think I'll go out and shoot.

                                                       Send me your shots!

Later amigos!